Coach Minichiello banned for life by UK Athletics over inappropriate conduct

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Toni Minichiello has been banned from coaching for life by UK Athletics over sexually inappropriate conduct after being found to have committed “gross breaches of trust”.

The 56-year-old, who had been subject of multiple complaints from women in athletics, was found to have committed 11 serious charges by an independent case-management group.

Various other charges were not proven.

An independent panel found Minichiello’s actions to “have had severe consequences for the mental health and mental wellbeing of the athletes under his charge”.

The findings relate to anonymous athletes over a 15-year period.

An adjudication panel has found Minichiello:

  • made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to athletes.
  • failed to respect the athletes right to a private life by making intrusive enquiries and personal comments about their personal lives.
  • engaged in sexually physical behaviour, namely inappropriate and unwanted touching of athletes to whom he owed a duty of care.
  • engaged in inappropriate and sometimes aggressive behaviour, bullying and emotional abuse.

The panel added that Minichello had mimicked sexual activity with athletes and inappropriately and unwantedly touched some, while also making intrusive enquiries and derogatory comments about their personal lives,

This included making inappropriate comments about some of his athletes’ relationships and boyfriends, telling one she would “never get married” and “never have kids”.

Minichiello was also found to have made one athlete sit in a corner with a cone on their head as a dunce’s hat.

UKA said it “wishes to recognise those who came forward to give evidence in this case. We thank them and strongly encourage anyone with a concern to come forward”.

Minichiello was named BBC Sports Personality Coach of the Year 10 years ago after guiding Jessica Ennis-Hill to Olympic glory at London 2012.

His coaching licence has expired and therefore cannot be subject to a sanction, however UKA says it has decided that it will not entertain any future application made by Minichiello.

UKA is firmly of the view that there will never be a time in the future at which it would be appropriate to grant that assurance and issue such a licence,” it said.




BBC/Emmanuel Ukoh